BrazilGraduate degrees in Brazil are called "postgraduate" degrees and can be taken only after undergraduate education has been completed. * ''Lato sensu'' graduate degrees: degrees that represent a specialization in a certain area and take from 1 to 2 years to complete. It can sometimes be used to describe a specialization level between a master's degree and an MBA. In that sense, the main difference is that the Lato Sensu courses tend to go deeper into the scientific aspects of the study field, while MBA programs tend to be more focused on the practical and professional aspects, being used more frequently to Business, Management and Administration areas. However, since there are no norms to regulate this, both names are used indiscriminately most of the time. * ''Stricto sensu'' graduate degrees: degrees for those who wish to pursue an academic career. ** Masters: 2 years for completion. Usually serves as additional qualification for those seeking a differential on the job market (and maybe later a PhD), or for those who want to pursue a PhD. Most doctoral programs in Brazil require a master's degree (stricto sensu), meaning that a ''lato sensu'' degree is usually insufficient to start a doctoral program. ** Doctors / PhD: 3–4 years for completion. Usually used as a stepping stone for academic life.
CanadaIn , the Schools and Faculties of Graduate Studies are represented by the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies (CAGS) or Association canadienne pour les études supérieures (ACES). The Association brings together 58 Canadian universities with graduate programs, two national graduate student associations, and the three federal research-granting agencies and organizations having an interest in graduate studies. Its mandate is to promote, advance, and foster excellence in graduate education and university research in Canada. In addition to an annual conference, the association prepares briefs on issues related to graduate studies including supervision, funding, and professional development.
AdmissionAdmission to a master's program generally requires a bachelor's degree in a related field, with sufficiently high s usually ranging from B+ and higher (note that different schools have different conventions, and this requirement may be significantly higher in some faculties) and recommendations from professors. Some schools require samples of the student's writing as well as a . At English-speaking universities, applicants from countries where English is not the primary language are required to submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (). Admission to a doctoral program typically requires a master's degree in a related field, sufficiently high grades, recommendations, samples of writing, a research proposal, and an interview with a prospective supervisor. Requirements are often set higher than those for a master's program. In exceptional cases, a student holding an honours BA with sufficiently high grades and proven writing and research abilities may be admitted directly to a Ph.D. program without the requirement to first complete a master's. Many Canadian graduate programs allow students who start in a master's to "reclassify" into a Ph.D. program after satisfactory performance in the first year, bypassing the master's degree. Students must usually declare their research goal or submit a research proposal upon entering graduate school; in the case of master's degrees, there will be some flexibility (that is, one is not held to one's research proposal, although major changes, for example from premodern to modern history, are discouraged). In the case of Ph.D.s, the research direction is usually known as it will typically follow the direction of the master's research. Master's degrees can be completed in one year but normally take at least two; they typically may not exceed five years. Doctoral degrees require a minimum of two years but frequently take much longer, although not usually exceeding six years.
FundingGraduate students may take out , but instead they often work as or s. Students often agree, as a condition of acceptance to a programme, not to devote more than twelve hours per week to work or outside interests. Various universities in Canada have different policies in terms of how much funding is available. This funding may also be different within a university in each of the disciplines. Many universities offer Evening MBA programs where students are able to work full-time while obtaining an MBA through evening classes, which allows them to pay their way through school. For Masters students, funding is generally available to first-year students whose reflect exceptionally high grades; this funding can also be obtained in the second year of studies. Funding for Ph.D. students comes from a variety of sources, and many universities waive tuition fees for doctoral candidates (This may also occur for masters students of some universities). Funding is available in the form of s, and other awards, both private and public.
Requirements for completionBoth master's and doctoral programs may be done by or research or a combination of the two, depending on the subject and . Most faculties require both, with the emphasis on research, and with coursework being directly related to the field of research. Master's candidates undertaking research are typically required to complete a comprising some original research and ranging from 70 to 200 pages. Some fields may require candidates to study at least one foreign language if they have not already earned sufficient foreign-language credits. Some faculties require candidates to , but many do not. Those that do not often have a requirement of taking two additional courses, minimum, in lieu of preparing a thesis. Ph.D. candidates undertaking research must typically complete a thesis, or dissertation, consisting of original research representing a significant contribution to their field, and ranging from 200 to 500 pages. Most Ph.D. candidates will be required to sit s—examinations testing general knowledge in their field of specialization—in their second or third year as a prerequisite to continuing their studies, and must defend their thesis as a final requirement. Some faculties require candidates to earn sufficient credits in a third or fourth foreign language; for example, most candidates in modern Japanese topics must demonstrate ability in English, , and , while candidates in pre-modern Japanese topics must demonstrate ability in English, Japanese, , and . At English-speaking Canadian universities, both master's and Ph.D. theses may be presented in English or in the language of the subject ( for , for example), but if this is the case, an extensive abstract must be also presented in English. In exceptional circumstances, a thesis may be presented in French. French-speaking universities have varying sets of rules; some will accept students with little knowledge of French if they can communicate with their supervisors (usually in English).
FranceThe ''écoles doctorales'' ("s") are educational structures similar in focus to graduate schools, but restricted at PhD level. These schools have the responsibilities of providing students with a structured doctoral training in a disciplinary field. The field of the school is related to the strength of the university: while some have two or three schools (typically "Arts and Humanities" and "Natural and Technological Sciences"), others have more specialized schools (History, Aeronautics, etc.). Admission to a doctoral program requires a master's degree, both research-oriented and disciplinary focused. High marks are required (typically a ''très bien'' honour, equating a ''cum laude''), but the acceptance is linked to a decision of the School Academical Board. A large share of the funding offered to junior researchers is channeled through the ''école doctorale'', mainly in the shape of three-years "Doctoral Fellowships" (''contrats doctoraux''). These fellowships are awarded after submitting a biographical information, undergraduate and graduate transcripts where applicable, letters of recommendation, and research proposal, then an oral examination by an Academical Committee.
GermanyThe traditional and most common way of obtaining a doctorate in Germany is by doing so individually under supervision of a single professor (''Doktorvater'' or ''Doktormutter'') without any formal curriculum. During their studies, doctoral students are enrolled at university while often being employed simultaneously either at the university itself, at a research institute or at a company as a researcher. Working in research during doctoral studies is, however, not a formal requirement. With the establishment of ''Graduiertenkollegs'' funded by the (DFG), the German Research Foundation, in the early 1990s, the concept of a graduate school was introduced to the German higher education system. Unlike the American model of graduate schools, only doctoral students participate in a ''Graduiertenkolleg''. In contrast to the traditional German model of doctoral studies, a ''Graduiertenkolleg'' aims to provide young researchers with a structured doctoral training under supervision of a team of professors within an excellent research environment. A ''Graduiertenkolleg'' typically consists of 20-30 doctoral students, about half of whom are supported by stipends from the DFG or another sponsor. The research programme is usually narrowly defined around a specific topic and has an interdisciplinary aspect. The programme is set up for a specific period of time (up to nine years if funded by the DFG). The official English translation of the term ''Graduiertenkolleg'' is ''Research Training Group''. In 2006, a different type of graduate school, termed ''Graduiertenschule'' ("graduate school"), was established by the DFG as part of the . They are thematically much broader than the focused ''Graduiertenkollegs'' and consist often of 100-200 doctoral students.
United KingdomThe term "graduate school" is used more widely by North American universities than by those in the UK. However, in addition to universities set up purely as graduate schools such as , numerous universities in the UK have formally launched graduate schools, including the , , , the , , and the , which includes graduate schools at , and . They often coordinate the supervision and training of candidates for .
AdmissionWhile most graduate programs will have a similar list of general admission requirements, the importance placed on each type of requirement can vary drastically between graduate schools, departments within schools, and even programs within departments. The best way to determine how a graduate program will weigh admission materials is to ask the person in charge of graduate admissions at the particular program being applied to. Admission to graduate school requires a bachelor's degree. High grades in one's field of study are important—grades outside the field less so. Traditionally in the past, the was required by almost all graduate schools, however, programs in multiple disciplines are removing the GRE requirement for their admission process. Some programs require other additional standardised tests (such as the (GMAT) and ) to apply to their institutions.Dale Bloom, Jonathan Karp, Nicholas Cohen, ''The Ph.D. Process: A Student's Guide to Graduate School in the Sciences'', Oxford University Press, 1998, .
Non-degree seekingIn addition to traditional "degree-seeking" applications for admission, many schools allow students to apply as "non-degree-seeking". Admission to the non-degree-seeking category is usually restricted primarily to those who may benefit professionally from additional study at the graduate level. For example, current elementary, middle, and high school teachers wishing to gain re-certification credit most commonly apply as non-degree-seeking students.
Requirements for completionGraduate students often declare their intended degree (master's or doctorate) in their applications. In some cases, master's programs allow successful students to continue toward the doctorate degree. Additionally, doctoral students who have advanced to candidacy but not filed a dissertation ("ABD", for "") often receive master's degrees and an additional master's called a (MPhil) or a (C.Phil.) degree. The master's component of a doctorate program often requires one or two years. Many graduate programs require students to pass one or several examinations in order to demonstrate their competence as scholars. In some departments, a is often required in the first year of doctoral study, and is designed to test a student's background undergraduate-level knowledge. Examinations of this type are more common in the sciences and some social sciences but relatively unknown in most humanities disciplines. Most graduate students perform teaching duties, often serving as graders and tutors. In some departments, they can be promoted to status, a position that comes with more responsibility. Doctoral students generally spend roughly their first two to three years taking coursework and begin research by their second year if not before. Many master's and all specialist students will perform research culminating in a paper, presentation, and defense of their research. This is called the master's thesis (or, for Educational Specialist students, the specialist paper). However, many US master's degree programs do not require a master's thesis, focusing instead primarily on coursework or on "practicals" or "workshops". Some students complete a final culminating project or "capstone" rather than a thesis. Such "real-world" experience may typically require a candidate work on a project alone or in a team as a consultant, or consultants, for an outside entity approved or selected by the academic institution and under faculty supervision. In the second and third years of study, doctoral programs often require students to pass more examinations. Programs often require a ("Quals"), a PhD Candidacy Examination ("Candidacy"), or a General Examination ("Generals"), designed to ensure students have a grasp of a broad sample of their discipline, or one or several Special Field Examinations ("Specials"), which test students in their narrower selected areas of specialty within the discipline. If these examinations are held orally, they may be known colloquially as "orals." For some social science and many humanities disciplines, where graduate students may or may not have studied the discipline at the undergraduate level, these exams will be the first set and be based either on graduate coursework or specific preparatory reading (sometimes up to a year's work in reading). In all cases, comprehensive exams are normally both stressful and time-consuming and must be passed to be allowed to proceed on to the dissertation. Passing such examinations allows the student to stay, begin doctoral research, and rise to the status of a doctoral candidate, while failing usually results in the student leaving the program or re-taking the test after some time has passed (usually a semester or a year). Some schools have an intermediate category, passing at the master's level, which allows the student to leave with a master's without having completed a master's dissertation. For the next several years the doctoral candidate primarily performs his or her research. Usually this lasts three to eight years, though a few finish more quickly, and some take substantially longer. In total, the typical doctoral degree takes between four and eight years from entering the program to completion, though this time varies depending upon the department, dissertation topic, and many other factors. For example, degrees take five to six years on average, but degrees take six to seven due to limiting factors of weather, while degrees take five. Though there is substantial variation among universities, departments, and individuals, and doctorates on average take somewhat longer to complete than doctorates. These differences are due to the differing nature of research between the humanities and some social sciences and the natural sciences and to the differing expectations of the discipline in coursework, languages, and length of dissertation. However, time required to complete a also varies according to the candidate's abilities and choice of research. Some students may also choose to remain in a program if they fail to win an academic position, particularly in disciplines with a tight job market; by remaining a student, they can retain access to libraries and university facilities, while also retaining an academic affiliation, which can be essential for conferences and job-searches. Traditionally, doctoral programs were only intended to last three to four years, and in some disciplines (primarily the natural sciences), with a helpful advisor and a light teaching load, it is possible for the degree to be completed in that amount of time. However, increasingly many disciplines, including most humanities, set their requirements for coursework, languages, and the expected extent of dissertation research by the assumption that students will take five years minimum or six to seven years on average; competition for jobs within these fields also raises expectations on the length and quality of dissertations considerably. Competition for jobs within certain fields, such as the life sciences, is so great that almost all students now enter a second training period after graduate school called a postdoctoral fellowship. In total most life scientists will invest 12–14 years in low-paid training positions and only 14% will obtain tenure track jobs (Miller McCune, the real science gap). The average age at which life scientists obtain their first R01 grant to conduct independent research is now 42. In some disciplines, doctoral programs can average seven to ten years. , which requires long periods of research, tends towards the longer end of this spectrum. The increase in length of the degree is a matter of great concern for both students and universities, though there is much disagreement on potential solutions to this problem.
FundingIn general, there is less funding available to students admitted to master's degrees than for students admitted to Ph.D. or other doctoral degrees. Many departments, especially those in which students have research or teaching responsibilities, offer Ph.D. students tuition waivers and a stipend that pays for most expenses. At some elite universities, there may be a minimum stipend established for all Ph.D. students, as well as a tuition waiver. The terms of these stipends vary greatly, and may consist of a scholarship or fellowship, followed by teaching responsibilities. At many elite universities, these stipends have been increasing, in response both to student pressure and especially to competition among the elite universities for graduate students. In some fields, research positions are more coveted than teaching positions because student researchers are typically paid to work on the dissertation they are required to complete anyway, while teaching is generally considered a distraction from one's work. Research positions are more typical of science disciplines; they are relatively uncommon in humanities disciplines, and where they exist, rarely allow the student to work on their own research. Science PhD students can apply for individual fellowships from the or fellowships from private foundations. US universities often also offer competitive support from NIH-funded training programs. One example is the Biotechnology Training Program – University of Virginia. Departments often have funds for limited discretionary funding to supplement minor expenses such as research trips and travel to conferences. A few students can attain funding through dissertation improvement grants funded by the (NSF), or through similar programs in other agencies. Many students are also funded as lab researchers by faculty who have been funded by private foundations or by the NSF, National Institutes of Health (NIH), or federal "mission agencies" such as the or the . The natural sciences are typically well funded, so that most students can attain either outside or institutional funding, but in the humanities, not all do. Some humanities students borrow money during their coursework, then take full-time jobs while completing their dissertations. Students in the social sciences are less well funded than are students in the natural and physical sciences, but often have more funding opportunities than students in the humanities, particularly as science funders begin to see the value of social science research. Funding differs greatly by departments and universities; some universities give five years of full funding to all Ph.D. students, though often with a teaching requirement attached; other universities do not. However, because of the teaching requirements, which can be in the research years of the Ph.D., even the best funded universities often do not have funding for humanities or social science students who need to do research elsewhere, whether in the United States or overseas. Such students may find funding through outside funders such as private foundations, such as the or the (SSRC). Foreign students are typically funded the same way as domestic (US) students, although federally subsidized student and parent loans and work-study assistance are generally limited to U.S. citizens and nationals, permanent residents, and approved refugees. Moreover, some funding sources (such as many NSF fellowships) may only be awarded to domestic students. International students often have unique financial difficulties such as high costs to visit their families back home, support of a family not allowed to work due to s, tuition that is expensive by world standards, and large fees: fees by , and fees under the of the .
Graduate employee unionsAt many universities, graduate students are employed by their university to teach classes or do research. While all graduate employees are graduate students, many graduate students are not employees. MBA students, for example, usually pay tuition and do not have paid teaching or research positions. In many countries graduate employees have collectively organized s in order to bargain a contract with their university. In Canada, for example, almost all graduate employees are members of a local. In the United States there are many graduate employee unions at public universities. The lists 25 recognized unions at public universities on its website. Private universities, however, are covered under the rather than state labor laws and until 2001 there were no recognized unions at private universities. Many graduate students see themselves as akin to junior faculty, but with significantly lower pay. Many graduate students feel that teaching takes time that would better be spent on research, and many point out that there is a vicious circle in the academic labor economy. Institutions that rely on cheap graduate student labor have no need to create expensive professorships, so graduate students who have taught extensively in graduate school can find it immensely difficult to get a teaching job when they have obtained their degree. Many institutions depend heavily on graduate student teaching: a 2003 report by agitators for a graduate student union at Yale, for instance, claims that "70% of undergraduate teaching contact hours at Yale are performed by transient teachers: graduate teachers, adjunct instructors, and other teachers not on the tenure track." The state of leads in terms of progressive policy regarding graduate student unions with five universities recognizing graduate employee unions: , , the , , and . The (under the slogan "Uniting Academic Workers") and the are two international unions that represent graduate employees. Private universities' administrations often oppose their graduate students when they try to form unions, arguing that students should be exempt from labor laws intended for "employees". In some cases unionization movements have met with enough student opposition to fail. At the schools where graduate employees are unionized, which positions are unionized vary. Sometimes only one set of employees will unionize (e.g. teaching assistants, residential directors); at other times, most or all will. Typically, fellowship recipients, usually not employed by their university, do not participate. When negotiations fail, graduate employee unions sometimes go on . While graduate student unions can use the same types of strikes that other unions do, they have also made use of s, work-ins, marches, rallies, and ''grade strikes''. In a grade strike, graduate students refuse to grade exams and papers and, if the strike lasts until the end of the academic term, also refuse to turn in final grades. Another form of job action is known as "work-to-rule", in which graduate student instructors work exactly as many hours as they are paid for and no more.
See also* * * (European Council of Doctoral Candidates and junior researchers) * * * * ' (widely read graduate school oriented comic strip) * *
References* William G. Bowen & Neil L. Rudenstine, ''In Pursuit of the PhD'' (Princeton UP, 1992; ). A comprehensive report on graduate education in the US from the 1960s to the 1990s, based on surveys of tens of thousands of graduate students.
Further reading* Huang, Ying.